First quarter infrastructure spending down 2.6%

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 26) — Infrastructure spending slightly eased during the first three months of 2022 with the election spending ban in place, latest Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data showed.

Infrastructure expenditure rose to ₱12.4 billion in the month of March alone -- a 14.2% spike in which payment for completed and partially completed projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways played a role.

However, it was not enough to lift disbursement for the quarter as it fell 2.6% to ₱190.2 billion compared to ₱195.2 billion last year. The DBM said it was "largely attributed to timing of payables for regular infrastructure programs."

Overall public spending settled at ₱1.101 trillion by the end of March, up mildly by 8.2%.

Looking ahead, the DBM said disbursements "are expected to slow down" in April and May with the 45-day poll-related ban on certain public spending items.

However, they are expected to normalize by the end of May.

The agency lists the mid-year bonus of government employees, expenditures under the Commission on Elections for the conduct of the national and local polls, payables for completed and partially completed capital outlay projects, and various educational assistance and social protection programs as potential drivers for spending growth in the second quarter.